Move the Stone
Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus and told Martha that her brother would live again because He, Jesus was the resurrection and the life (Jn.11: 23-25). This took place just before what we call Palm Sunday.
Something else transpired at the tomb. Before Jesus called on Lazarus to come back to life and out of the tomb, He ordered that the people take away the stone (Jn.11: 39). He had power over life and death, why did He not move the stone? What can we learn from Jesus’ behavior? Jesus did not act until the stone was removed from the sepulcher. Men had closed the tomb and man had to open it. It is symbolic of our relationship with Christ. For as long as we keep a stone between Him and us, He may not call us back to life. We ourselves place obstacles between our Lord and us and hinder Him from getting to us. Once we remove the stone, regardless how big it may be, Jesus can reach us. And like Lazarus that was no longer in a position to move the stone, we too depend on others to help us move our stones. We must not just bear our burdens but also remove them out of the way for Jesus to call us back to a productive life.
It was after the stone was removed, Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out alive and Jesus gave the bystanders a second order, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (Jn.11: 41-44). Again, Jesus did not set the man free. He demanded that those who had tied and wrapped Lazarus were also the ones that had to free him. It is symbolic of what Jesus said to Peter, “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Mt.16: 19). To all the disciples Jesus said, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are for given; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (Jn.20: 23). It also suggests that those that had buried Lazarus were not to interfere in his freedom to live out his life as a resurrected new being in Christ.
We do have a tendency to prescribe what we think may be acceptable and appropriate for being members of a Christian fellowship. When we remove the stone and the grave clothing, we do expect converts to stay with us. The friends of Lazarus too wanted to hang on to their miracle man, but Jesus told them, “Let him go!” No one could live his life for him, neither can we? It is wrong of us to expect converts to live in our footprints. They must make their own and we must let them go. How are they going to grow up, if they have to hang on to our aprons? Remember, not to pour new wine into old wineskins (Mt.9: 17). That was and still is what Easter is all about. God has given us a second chance to live.